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The NIA wrongly names an employer on its Most Wanted list


The National Investigative Agency (NIA) was red-faced recently when it published the name and photo of a businessman, Mahesh Agarwal of the Adhunik Group, which runs coal and steel plants, on its most wanted list.

And so, for almost nine months, the businessman whose companies do business in billions of rupees appeared in the “most wanted” section of the NIA website, usually reserved for global terrorists like the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba. (LeT), Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. , and Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin, his local cadres and others accused of heinous crimes against the country.

The agency had to remove Agarwal’s name from the section last month after the Jharkhand high court earlier this year asked it not to take any enforcement action against him.

Agarwal, managing director of Adhunik Power and Natural Resources Limited (APNRL), which operates a coal-based power transmission unit in Jharkhand, was indicted as a defendant by the NIA in a charge sheet filed on January 10 of this year. for allegedly financing the activities of a Maoist-backed group Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC).

The case, which dates back to 2016, concerns extortion by Naxal groups of businessmen, transporters and contractors in the coal-rich regions of Bihar and Jharkhand. TPC, a Maoist organization was receiving money on behalf of its leader,according to the charge sheet, a copy of which has been reviewed by HT.

The agency alleged in its supplemental charge sheet against Agarwal that, under his direction, a payment of Rs 200 per metric ton of coal was made to the coal haulers against work orders in order to pay TPC operatives and the village committees for the smooth running of your business.

Based on the charge sheet, a special NIA court in Ranchi issued a non-bail order against Agarwal on January 17, after which the NIA put his name and photograph on the Most Wanted list in your website.

Agarwal’s attorney, Nitesh Rana, filed an interlocutory request with the Jharkhand HC that by putting his name on the most wanted list, the NIA damaged his reputation. Rana said: “My client has been falsely implicated in the case. He was a witness to the NIA until last year. In fact, the agency approached the special court in Ranchi in March 2019 to record his statement under section 164 of the CrPC as a witness. However, suddenly, he was prosecuted as a defendant this year even though his name was not in the FIR. ”

Rana said they had challenged the charge sheet, but the agency went ahead and put his name on its most wanted list. And there it stayed.

NIA official Subodh Sharma said in an affidavit filed with the HC on November 3 that the agency removed Agarwal’s name from the list on October 21. The agency, however, defended its charges against Agarwal. NIA officials declined to comment.

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